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A Midsummer Night's Dream: April 12-13, 18-21 (with an Extra Saturday Matinee)

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PNB will open it's run of A Midsummer Night's Dream on Friday, April 12, and for second weekend, there will be an extra, non-subscription Saturday matinee performance.   PNB did not cancel any performance of The Sleeping Beauty during Snowmageddon, but ticket holders were offered a switch to A Midsummer Night's Dream.  The extra performance will mean that there will be tickets available for single ticket-buyers.  

Here is part one of the press release:



Eight performances only? Lord, what fools these mortals be!

April 12-21, 2019

April 12, 13, 18, 19 & 20 at 7:30 PM

April 13 & 20 at 2:00 PM

April 21 at 1:00 PM

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

321 Mercer Street at Seattle Center

Seattle, WA 98109

SEATTLE, WA – A garden of delight for the eyes and ears, George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream returns to the McCaw Hall stage as the fifth offering of PNB’s 2018-2019 season. Staged by Founding Artistic Director Francia Russell and featuring exclusive scenic and costume designs by Martin Pakledinaz, PNB’s production of Midsummer – Shakespeare’s comic tale of romantic confusion – charms all who enter its enchanted Northwest-inspired forest. The ballet follows the quarrels of the King and Queen of the Fairies, and the mayhem of mismatched lovers, abetted by mischief-maker Puck. All is resolved by Act II, which opens with Mendelssohn’s familiar Wedding March, and is crowned by the magnificent Divertissement pas de deux, considered one of Balanchine’s most beautiful creations.


PNB has performed its one-of-a-kind production of Midsummer to great acclaim at the Edinburgh International Festival and at Sadler’s Wells Theater in London, where the production was filmed by the BBC and subsequently released on DVD.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays for eight performances only, from April 12 through 21 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $37 and may be purchased by calling the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at the PNB Box Office at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org.


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Part 2:

BALLET 101: Music at PNB – The PNB Orchestra, Conductors & Pianists

Tuesday, April 2, 7:00 pm

The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer St., Seattle

The New York Times has dubbed the PNB Orchestra “the best ballet band in America.” Meet the team that heads up music at PNB in this panel discussion including Music Director and Principal Conductor Emil de Cou, and members of the PNB music staff and orchestra. This is the final installment of PNB’s four-part BALLET 101 series exploring many facets of the ballet industry. Tickets are $25. For tickets and more information, visit PNB.org.


Thursday, April 11, 5:30 pm

Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join PNB Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington in conversation with retiring Costume Shop Manager Larae Theige Hascall, during the hour preceding the dress rehearsal of PNB’s Martin Pakledinaz-designed A Midsummer Night’s Dream. PNB Conversations offers in-depth interviews with artists involved in putting our repertory on stage. Attend the Conversations event only or stay for the dress rehearsal. Tickets ($30) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office.


Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Join Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing ballet to the stage. One hour before performances. FREE for ticketholders.


Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall

Ever want to ask what it’s like to dance a masterpiece, participate in the creation of a new work, or wear pointe shoes? Here’s your chance! Skip the post-show traffic and join Artistic Director Peter Boal or a member of PNB’s artistic staff with PNB Company dancers for a lively question-and-answer session immediately following each performance. FREE for ticketholders.


Friday, April 19
Join members of PNB’s Young Patrons Circle (YPC) in an exclusive lounge for complimentary wine and coffee before the show and at intermission. YPC is PNB’s social and educational group for ballet patrons ages 21 through 39. YPC members save on their subscriptions and additional tickets. For more info, visit PNB.org/YPC.

Part three:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Music: Felix Mendelssohn

Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust

Staging: Francia Russell

Scenic and Costume Design: Martin Pakledinaz

Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli

Premiere: January 17, 1962; New York City Ballet 
PNB Premiere: May 16, 1985; New Production: May 27, 1997

Balanchine’s fondness for Shakespeare's tale of love's delusions and mishaps dated from boyhood when he had performed as an elf in a St. Petersburg production of the play. As an adult he still remembered many lines (in Russian) and loved to quote them, especially those enchanting ones of Oberon that begin, "I know a bank where the wild thyme blows / Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows…." But Balanchine's desire to bring this favorite theater piece to the ballet stage waited more than 20 years for fulfillment while he searched for music with which to expand Mendelssohn's original score to suitable length.* 

Although Balanchine is famous for his rejection of the evening-long story ballet tradition that dominated the 19th century, he was not, in fact, opposed to story ballets per se, only to their excesses. In Midsummer, which dance writer Anita Finkel has called "possibly the greatest narrative ballet of all time," he demonstrated brilliantly that the pace of a story ballet can be fleet rather than ponderous, that mime can be delicate and to the point, and that the tale can be told almost entirely through dance. 

Perhaps most inspired is Balanchine's sustained employment of ballet's central metaphor of love—the pas de deux—to embody the play's subtle insights into the many permutations of the love relationship. The cloying embraces of Hermia and Lysander, the distraught pleadings of Helena with Demetrius, the thrashing resistance of Hermia to Demetrius and of Helena to Lysander—all are distortions of the ideal partnership between lovers, traditionally conveyed by the ballerina and her cavalier. This human game of power is also played out in the fairy realm where, tellingly, the disputing spouses Titania and Oberon never dance together but instead perform self-celebratory solos for their admiring retinues. When Titania does condescend to take a partner, it is either the non-descript cavalier, who functions more as prop than peer, or, in the work's most charming episode, an artless ass. Only in Act II, which is pure dance, do the battles and imbalances, the self-indulgences and self-deceptions give way to a genuine dance partnership. In the magnificent Divertissement pas de deux which crowns the wedding festivities, competition has no place, and restraint, mutuality and trust define the mature ideal of love. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream has been in Pacific Northwest Ballet's repertory since 1985. In 1997, with the approval of The George Balanchine Trust, PNB commissioned set and costume designer Martin Pakledinaz to re-design the entire production — a "first" for a Balanchine story ballet. Staged by PNB Founding Artistic Director Francia Russell, with every step, movement and gesture as Balanchine intended, this freshly-designed Midsummer brings the choreographer's dramatic ideas to life scenically as never before. [Program Notes by Jeanie Thomas]

*Music details: Overture and incidental music to A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 21 and 61, 1826, 1843; Overtures to Athalie, Op. 74, 1845; and The Fair Melusine, Op. 32, 1833; The First Walpurgis Night, Op. 60; Symphony No. 9 for Strings [first three movements], 1823; Overture to Son and Stranger, Op. 89, 1829

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Full casting isn't posted (unless two browsers and my phone are malfunctioning), but PNB posted to Facebook that Laura Tisserand will be Opening Night Titania (April 12):

I hope that Jerome Tisserand will be her Oberon: they don't get to dance together often because they are similar in height.

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